10 organizations leading the pack on healthy materials

Owens Corning
Owens Corning
Owens Corning’s insulation is a Living Product, and is therefore manufactured with renewable or bio-based materials and by processes powered only by renewable energy. It does not impair the health of those who manufacture or use it.

This article was originally published in Trim Tab, the International Living Future Institute's magazine for transformational people and design.

Our homes are fraught with carcinogens. Endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and a laundry list of other types of harmful chemicals are likely in every room of your house. These toxics are in the hygiene products in your medicine cabinet as well as in the materials that make up your bathroom.

If a consumer was posed with the choice between a product that contains toxics or a comparable nontoxic product, one would imagine that the consumer clearly would choose the latter.

Historically, chemical-free alternatives were not largely available, but recently, consumers are gaining ever-growing access to healthier options. Companies are learning that manufacturing healthy products is indeed marketable, cost-effective and smart business practice.

You can find healthier alternative products in standard retailers, ranging from household cleaners that contain innocuous ingredients such as baking soda to furniture free from halogenated flame retardant (HFRs) coatings.

Ingredient transparency gives consumers the option to make informed choices about the products they buy, and is on the upswing. Below is a list of 10 companies forging the demand for a healthy materials economy.

1. Health Care Without Harm

The organization works to transform health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health. By leveraging health care’s purchasing power, Health Care Without Harm drives policies and markets for ethically produced, healthy, sustainable products and services. 

Humanscale

Humanscale's Floating Table.


2. Humanscale

Humanscale is an ergonomic office products manufacturer that strives to improve health and comfort at work. Sustainability of both design and materials is at the heart of its work. Its commitment to sustainable products can be seen as it strives toward successfully completing the Living Product Challenge with its latest Diffrient Smart Chair and Float Table.

3. Tarkett

As a global leader in sustainable flooring solutions, Tarkett upholds a four-part strategy within its mission: use better materials; practice resource stewardship; create people friendly spaces; and reuse and recycle. With its 2020 Sustainability Roadmap, Tarkett is moving forward with its commitment for a circular economy and will closely monitor progress and initiatives across the company through its four pillars.

4. Interface

As the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet, Interface is a catalyst in the redesign of the carpet industry. By moving away from petroleum intensive carpet and radically changing its production process, Interface products embody a commitment to sustainability. This commitment can be further witnessed in its bold new initiative Climate Take Back, a solutions based approach on climate change. 

ecovative

Ecovative's Myco Foam Mushroom Packaging.

5. Ecovative

A leading biomaterials company that grows high performance, Earth-friendly materials, which unlike conventional synthetics can have a positive impact on our planet’s ecosystem. Its natural Myco Foam Mushroom Packaging serves as a premium alternative to fabricated foam packaging.With mushroom materials, Ecovative is paving the way toward a green packaging industry.

6. Herman Miller

A globally recognized furniture manufacture, Herman Miller believes that effective design can elevate the human experience. Many of its innovations are inspired by collaboration with customers. Nemschoff, a Herman Miller company, provides innovative furnishings for healthcare and other high-use environments. They believe that people make a difference and design can improve the way we work, heal and live.

7. Skanska

As one of the world’s leading construction groups, Skanska builds for a better society and a sustainable future for people and communities. Skanska built the Bertschi Living Building Science Wing, a fully certified Living Building, and firmly believes in its role to lead through environmentally responsible innovation. Its Journey to Deep Green goes beyond formal compliance and serves as a strategic tool to measure and guide green activities.

8. ZGF (Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP)

A design firm focused on architecture, interior design and urban design. ZGF’s design philosophy is centered on its premise that design excellence should be reflected in every aspect of a building — its fit with the community, its function and relationships to its users, its building systems and its cost.

9. Owens Corning

Owens Corning develops, manufactures and markets insulation, roofing and fiberglass composites. Because expanding impact through sustainability is defined as a core value, Owens Corning’s products and people strive to make the world a better place. Its unbonded loosefill insulation for walls, attics, ceilings and floors, one of the world’s first certified Living Products, is both innovative and eco-friendly.

10. Architecture 2030

A non-profit established in response to climate change crisis by Ed Mazria in 2002. Its mission is to rapidly transform the built environment from a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central part of the climate crisis solution. By 2030, its goal is to move toward carbon neutrality for individual buildings, districts, cities and building products.